Reviews | Students Should Take Advantage of Study Abroad Programs | Opinion

Colleges and universities around the world are incorporating study abroad programs into their schools that give students the opportunity to travel the world with their peers and experience and learn about different cultures. Students can even choose study abroad programs tailored to their major.

JMU offers students dozens of study abroad programs, ranging from internships in Ireland to courses in Israel or Japan. These programs provide students with new perspectives by traveling to different countries and experiencing different cultures. Students can practice their foreign language skills while learning about the history and culture of the language.

Undergraduates and graduates take full advantage of these unique experiences. According to Northeastern University“Currently, there are 100,000 more American students studying abroad than a decade ago, as well as more than one million international students in the United States”

Studying abroad allows students to grow as individuals and adapt their own view of the world to a broader and more diverse perspective. According to a survey by the Institute of Educational Sciences“97% said studying abroad was a catalyst for increased maturity, 96% said it increased self-confidence [and] 84% said it had a lasting impact on their view of the world.

Students have the opportunity to experience different teaching styles, such as authority, facilitator, and delegator roles, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. Some professors follow stricter rules and prefer lectures to group discussions, while facilitators and delegates appreciate more student participation. Experiencing these different styles gives students the opportunity to learn how to adapt to different environments, which comes in handy in the professional world.

Junior Charlie Pilc completed the College of Business program in Antwerp, Belgium in the Fall 2022 semester. His favorite aspect of travel was “traveling most weekends” with his favorite destination being Interlaken, Switzerland .

Pilc said he had the opportunity to learn and experience a variety of cultures present in Europe, as many countries border each other and each has its own culture.

When asked if he recommends enrolling in study abroad programs, he replied, “100%, you never really [the] chance to go to Europe for three whole months at that age. You have to take these risks when they appear.

Not only do you have the opportunity to travel the world and experience diverse cultures with peers, but it can also contribute to personal professional success in a variety of ways. A European Commission studyfound that “about 65% of employers consider international experience important for recruitment, and more than 90% are looking for soft skills reinforced by studying abroad, such as openness and curiosity for new challenges, problem solving and decision making”.

Employers are attracted when they see candidates with study abroad experience. Studies show that students who take study abroad programs find jobs faster after graduation and tend to have higher starting salaries. Students who have completed these programs also have higher acceptance rates into graduate and professional schools and programs.

Studying abroad not only offers students the opportunity to take courses in foreign countries and explore different cultures with friends, but also to enter the professional world. These programs give students a new perspective on the world and even their own lives – it is truly life changing.

Contact Emma Seli, Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communications Junior, at [email protected] For more editorials regarding the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the Opinion Bureau on Instagram and Twitter @breeze_opinion

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